Melee vs. Non-melee - Competitive and Non-competitive Discussion

Hey guys, this piece comes out of a couple of discussions I've had in other threads both here and on Gamers, as well as in the interest of helping the boards and the community get back on track.  Further, its a topic I expect to address on the Sith Holo News Network show either this week or next so I won't be going into full detail about my perspective on it here necessarily.  But I think it's a very interesting topic, and I think a lot can be said about it, so with that said, here we go.


For the life of SWMs, melee figures have to some degree struggled vs. Non-melee.  The reason is faily straightforward if not obvious, in that melee is a restriction that doesn't come with any real benefits in most cases.  Players in virtually every era of the game have made complaints about melee, and I believe most of that comes from a couple of sources of frustration.  I think it important to state that this is a biased discussion leaning towards the higher costing jedi minis in general, and not cheap non-uniques like the Aqualish Assassin or the IG Lancer.  After all, the issue really stems from comparisons of uniques (mostly).


1. Early game design problems.  I think it's clear that Rob undervalued the restrictions that melee placed on a mini and so costing was off, as well as a lack of options on any given melee piece.  There has in reality always been competitive melee pieces, but it was definately a problem early on with costing and so forth overall.  For example, Emp Palpatine, Mace Windu, Yoda, Vader SL, Vader JH, etc were all quite competitive in their eras, and some are still competitive even if their roll is dimished in today's game.  In particular, I believe that the early experiences still taint the opinion of a great many of us old timers to a degree.


2. Expectations of players.  I believe this cannot be overlooked.  The game is SWs after all which is really about lightsabers.  It's probably the number one reason any complainer will site when they talk of this issue, that jedi need to be more powerful.  It often comes from a less experienced player, but certainly not exclusively. And more importantly, it stems from a desire to see Jedi X be more powerful - usually the character that complainer loves the most.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with this perspective, but it has to be tempered at least a little.


3. Melee recosting.  Some players will challenge that this did not happen as expected, or they will argue a more nuanced position that non-melee recieved too much of a recosting as well (even if not equal to the melee changes) that did not allow melee to catch up as much as needed.  Others will argue that significantly more jedi are in play than before the JWM, and clearly this is evidence of it occuring.  I will state right now, I believe the recosting happened, and it's worked, but not to the degree that many people would have liked.  Melee meets my expectations, but clearly not everyones.


4. Figure choices.  I think this is also a key point in understanding the issue.  If you look at the pieces that have been redone in the last 4-5 sets, a pattern seems to emerge.  Anakin, Obi Wan, Assaj, Yoda, Vader, Luke, Kyle, etc, WotC seems interested in making sure the big names are well represented in the game competitively and casually.  This isn't a new point in particular, but an essencial one that relates to the issue.  It relates in this way, that I believe people unconciously ignore remakes of characters when they look at this issue, especially those that already had competitive versions of themselves present in the game.  In a way, most people do not see a new Yoda as bringing a lot to the game, in the same way they see the value of a figure like the Exile.  And it isn't just faction based either, for example the lack of discussion around the new Kyle, but a heavy focus on the value of a figure like Sith Maul.  And in a way, I understand this.  It's the same kind of point I make in regards to fringe, that it often benefits the factions who have not more than those that have, even if it doesn't tip the power scales the way some people would like.  A great stated figure that has been unrepresented like the Exile brings a lot more buzz to people than a remake of yoda, even if Yoda is more likely to see competitive play.  Yoda already had 2 competitive pieces for Repbulic, and 2 for Rebels before Yoda GM came out, so even though he is a great mini, and deals well with the melee-non-melee question, we've largly ignored him.  Had his stats been on someone new, I think a lot more would have been said by the players. 


5. Map design.  I've said a lot on this issue elsewhere, but it's a critical piece.  WotC has had to learn over the years that wide open maps are not great for the game, whether that be competitive play, or casual play.  They work ok for some scenarios, but that's about it.  In almost all eras of play when non-melee could mostly dominate, it also came with wide open legal maps.


6. Strategy, tactics and skill.  This is another critical piece, and this is where the issue really crosses over from being a non-competitive issue, into a competitive one.  The earlier arguments are really more non-competitive issues primarily.  Melee, because of it's restrictiveness has always taken more skill to run than non-melee.  That should be obvious to most.  Many beginning to intermediate players jump off the band wagon at this point.  They believe this to be an issue of imbalance, rather than an issue of their skill.  In particular, this is an issue for players who have just gotten into competitive play, or those who might even think themselves casual, but clearly their frustration shows them to be interested more in winning than they had been earlier in their game life.  At the top levels of the game, melee has done quite well for years.  But in the mid levels, I think it's safe to say that many players experience non-melee as having a much smaller learning curve, and they learn to win more easily and quickly with it, which leads to their belief that the game is slanted.  Continued practice and struggle will lead one to readress these issues, and they can get to a point where melee starts to compete for them rather well.  But I am not sure all of these players don't hold onto some of the reservations from this time period in their game life, even though their current experiences should be telling them something else.


7. Gimmicks.  The argument of top level players against melee, has often been centered around the issue of gimmicks.  One might say, "Well, X, Y and Z are all competitive melee pieces" and the response is often, "Only because X has E, Y has D, and Z has F".  In a sense, they are considered exceptions rather than the rule.  I question this logic to a degree.  I believe it has roots in the early part of the game, where melee didn't have a lot of gimmicks, and one of the ways Rob has "recosted" melee was to start giving them out more often to melee pieces.  An easy example is rangeless force push/grip 4, but that is hardly the only one.  What I challenge is the argument that competitive melee pieces are all about the gimmicks, but competitive non-melee peices are not.  That to me is provably and patently false.  I am also prepared to argue, that at least at the top levels of the game there are at least as many competitive melee pieces and non-melee pieces (perhaps more actually thanks to the plethora of 200pt Republic options) than there are non-melee.  I will let others speak to the truth or failure of that argument on a more local scale, as my experience is certainly colored by what I personally can "get away with playing" locally that may not be true of others.


8. All melee vs. all range.  Another common issue is that players will say, "I want an all melee squad to be competitive" and the assumption is that an all non-melee squad is competitive.  I think at the lower and mid levels of casual play this is probably true to a degree.  At the higher end though, all ranged squads are not dominant (barring map issues).  All melee squads also have major issues at this level of play, and I would probably admit that an all non-melee squad has slightly better odds in the hands of a decent competitive player, but not exclusively however.  All melee squads have made the top 8 at Gencon several times.  Generally, the best squads are mixes, with interference elements, power elements, defensive elements and control elements.  To me, that is the ideal for a game like this, and it represents a significant level of balance.  You can overly focus on one aspect, but you do so to the detriment of another.  So the squad builder has to learn to balance multiple elements of play.  I like that, but it does mean that melee figures often have to offer more to a squad than simply being a roadblock.  That means that gimmicks on melee become even more obvious to the players.  This leads me to the next point.


9. Options.  Both melee and non-melee offer various gimmicks to a squad, and the best squads are often those that are the most flexible in what they can do.  The concept of what many players believe a lightsaber to be, doesn't always meld well with this reality of game play (and it's a critical piece of game play that without it, the game would break).  LS characters cannot be so powerful, that they run over everything and anything like in the movies, cartoons, books and comics.  But because of that, they have to be suseptible to dying (unlike movies, cartoons, books and comics).  Since they are susceptible to death, its integral that they also provide another role to a squad, beyond hitting with a LS.  Think for example, those of you MMORPG players, of the role of a tank.  They are there to focus fire, grab the aggro and hold it, to allow the weak damage dealers and healers to do their jobs.  In a well balanced game, the Tank can also do some damage, but should never be able to simply run up to a damage dealer and waste them without trying.  The same applies to balance in minis.  Melee pieces aren't necessarily tanks, but they do play critical roles, one of which is interference, and taking one for the team when the situation arrises.  They can also be damage dealers, just like a non-melee can, but it requires careful squad building together with tactics and strategy to make it work, the same exact way a Warrior can catch up to a Mage or Theif in WoW in damage if they really learn how to do it well.  I think that is where the comparison ends, however. 


10. Crossing the board.  This is an issue of squad building, strategy and tactics, but important enough to this discussion to have it's own category.  The obvious pieces are movement breakers, and I wrote an article pre-A&E on this topic that I think still covers it well on the Holocron.net, even if it's dated.  There are a ton of ways melee pieces can get there, one of which that is often overlooked is the opposite of the melee interference principle I often talk about, that i will call, "Non-melee cover fire" for lack of a better term.  Just as melee can function as the "tanks", non-melee also can function as the protection to get the melee into battle.  I see a lot of players miss this role.  I also have talked about the principle of, "breaking some eggs" and usually referenced melee pieces taking one for the team to protect the shooters for that extra critical round of attacks.  But what I have not covered well, is the opposite, but equally important role that shooters take in this concept.  A good well played defensive shooter can be used to keep your melee safe as it crosses the board, and sometimes, needs to be out in the open to do it properly, sacrificing itself.  Yet most players are hesitant to do so.  I don't know why that is psychologically, but it seems to be almost universally true.  If you are headed into a killing field with your melee pieces, get your non-melee out there to take some of the fire.  They have to both be a threat, and a target in order to do so.  Hiding your Dash, or your Boba BH out of los just gets your melee piece isolated.  A much better strategy is to try and make your opponent make tougher choices.


Alright, with that said, let's see what you all think.  Remember, we need to rebuild our community, so let's keep it on topic, open and honest, and no flaming

I'll put it straight out there


Errata for charaters with Melee attack and either Lightsaber abilities or Force Powers  : -

Special ability;
Deflect
(when hit by an attack from a non-adjacent enemy this character takes no damage with a save of 16)


 

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This is a good discussion, but you bring up so much i dont know where to start. (And i really HATE the fact i cant scroll through what has been posted the way we could before:/ )


Melee has covered a great deal of the distance since the cries for melee help started, but IMO, it still isnt there.  Has recosting occurred? Yes.  Has it been consistent? Not even close!  We see some figs come along that are costed really aggressively, but then the rest of the set will have melee that is over costed or underpowered.  The changes we have seen need to become much more consistent.


As far as the gimmicks go, they are a HUGE part of making melee playable.  Where was melee the strongest early? Republic that had R2 and then B&B where your melee beat didnt have to stand and fight.  Then we got a few squads that were decent because of SS before disruptive became common.  Today look at where the most playable melee is located - NR where they get mobile and evade.  I dont like it when melee needs gimmicks like this.  Strides have been made.  I think lightsaber defense for the jedi is a big one, but when we see shooters that can shoot four times and then hide while the melee has to run the board to maybe get one attack off and pray for init to get a double triple off.  I would really like to see more twin or GMA in melee than shooters.


Maps are huge! i agree with most of what you said here.  The ideas we were floating around like giving melee an 8-10 square set up range would also help.


 


Basically i would like to see the new costing a bit more consisent.

You raise a lot of good points, Bill.


I won't talk too much about non-Jedi melee, because, well...Jedi are a special case.


Melee has the burden on it of representing the Jedi, which is the group at the core of Star Wars, whether people want to accept it or not. As characters, the Jedi are given the ability to overcome the fact they don't use weapons as 'clumsy or random' as blasters by use of the Force. One Jedi with a lightsaber is worth 5-10 guys with a blaster.


However, that doesn't translate over perfectly (some might say far from) in the Star Wars Miniatures Game. I remember it said that Jedi didn't all get Deflect or Block because they abilities were represented partially by high Hit Points, which is a spiritual carry over from the old idea of D20 rpg play vitality points. Vitality points were supposed to represent taking minor or superficial cuts and scrapes, dodging blaster fire or parrying a bunch of lightsaber strokes successfully if it were on screen (but obviously not so in the movies since in the movies getting struck by a lightsaber is the end of the fight, unless you are General Grievous). The high Hit Point argument was always...cautiously accepted...by me at first, until as you mention, Rob started the recosting of Melee pieces where the Jedi were concerned. Luke Skywalker, Jedi Master didn't suffer a loss of HPs for having both Deflect and Block. Nor have many figures since.


Personally, I don't have an over large concern with the imbalance of Melee vs. non-Melee myself (my favorite faction has always been the Republic), and have pretty much always adapted to use those Jedi i'm going to use as they are. However, in general, in any game of this type, shooters or whatever the analogue for attacking from range is always going to go in favor of range. It's just the nature of the beast...which is simple logic. It's always better to defeat your opponent from a place where it is more difficult or ideally, impossible for that opponent to defeat you. Now, should it be a landslide victory when talking game balance, as some seem to think it is? No. In the case of the Jedi, from a flavor standpoint, the answer becomes 'certainly not'. Jedi 'should' be the melee characters that make having Melee Attack not a 'penalty'. However, the road to that delicate balance of making Jedi more 'competitive' against non-melee is a delicate balance. A good example of a melee figure who is more or less shooter-proof is Jarael. She is a good start, but she also has frustrated detractors. Giving all Jedi abilities identical to hers might be taking things a bit far, especially when you factor Hit Points into it. That said, she still kind of does what Jedi are 'supposed' or at least 'expected' to do, without even being a Jedi.


People want to be able to build 'any' type of squad and be able to 'compete' with it, but I think it's sort of a high level of expectation to take an all melee squad against all shooter squads and hope to win. Possible? Yes. Optimal use of time and figures? No. It's literally bringing a knife to a gunfight, and we all know where that leads...usually. The selection of maps and having to roll off for map alone would dissuade me from the idea, because they are in large part, very shooter centric along with the rest of the game.


While i'm on the shooty-ness of SWM, I want to say I don't think it is a bad thing that the game is 'focused' on non-melee pieces. I just think that the Jedi shouldn't be quite as subject to that fact as other melee pieces.

My old signatures are gone!!

I will respond to every point you made Bill and they will mostly be in agreement or with slight caveats, but I can't do it now.

I had a similar discussion at my LGS shortly after the presentation of my so-called "thesis."


I think the problem is that, as you point out, melee and non-melee pieces are designed on the same scale in exactly the same way. Melee is not considered a significant enough restrictive ability to warrant better stats or more abilities.


I know klecser and others have pointed to Rieekan as the solution to melee, because Evade means you want to get adjacent, however look at what Rieekan typically gets paired with. It's not melee, I promise you that. So you still have to get adjacent but Rieekan's forces will tear you apart before you get too close.


Non-melee has indeed gotten better. Greater Mobile Attack was the worst idea ever for this game. Yes that is my opinion, but look at what it has done. With the next set we are going to have a figure that under the right conditions can move up to 6 squares, shoot 4 TIMES at no less than +12 for 30 damage each (SL Palp + Thrawn + Captain Rex), and then move the remainder of the difference, probably back behind a wall where it started.


Jedi Academy presented an amazing opportunity to fix the problem once and for all but instead we got a set that seemed to forget shooters are a dominant part of the game, and gave us the same old style of melee figs we are accustomed to. I can present no less than 3 special abilities and commander effects that would fix it, and in a way that doesn't force reliance on a specific figure to win.


In reality, non-melee should have had a range limit, but it's too late for that.


 A good example of a melee figure who is more or less shooter-proof is Jarael. She is a good start, but she also has frustrated detractors. Giving all Jedi abilities identical to hers might be taking things a bit far, especially when you factor Hit Points into it. That said, she still kind of does what Jedi are 'supposed' or at least 'expected' to do, without even being a Jedi.





Just for the record, Jarael has been revealed to be quite strong in the Force in the more recent KOTOR comics (perhaps the reason why she was given Force 2 at the time). 



 A good example of a melee figure who is more or less shooter-proof is Jarael. She is a good start, but she also has frustrated detractors. Giving all Jedi abilities identical to hers might be taking things a bit far, especially when you factor Hit Points into it. That said, she still kind of does what Jedi are 'supposed' or at least 'expected' to do, without even being a Jedi.





Just for the record, Jarael has been revealed to be quite strong in the Force in the more recent KOTOR comics (perhaps the reason why she was given Force 2 at the time). 



Oh, I know...but she's not a Jedi.


Also, my original response was before I saw the stats for General Skywalker. I'd say he's a step in the right direction for Jedi.

My old signatures are gone!!


I know klecser and others have pointed to Rieekan as the solution to melee




I'll respond in greater detail when I get a chance, but I just wanted to say that never have I intended to make this case.  I've never said Rieekan was (a/the) solution.  I HAVE said that shooters getting uber powerful has helped melee in an indirect way, but I don't view those as the same thing. ;)


I will say that I agree with Boris on Greater Mobile Attack.  No melee, no matter how much they use cover, can effectively reach a shooter that attacks them four times for massive damage and STILL can run away.  Even Super Stealth doesn't help given our maps.  Its just too much for even the most tactically minded player to engage.  GMA should have been restricted to figs that couldn't get access to twin or even just to melee only.  I would feel differently if a shooter couldn't kill a lot of melee figs in a single act.  You can get within seven squares of someone when you have super stealth and its still pretty likely that they'll gun you down.

Greater Mobile Attack was the worst idea ever for this game.



Might be your opinion, but I think it's a one a few people share (myself included). Even just wording it differently might have solved the problem; say, along the lines of Garm's CE (can move [i]half speed[i], then use Double/etc). Would make these stupid quadruple attacking shooters far easier to dodge and far easier to pin.

I don't know that I buy that about the quad attackers.  I really have yet to see them dominate anything.  They are almost exclusively support characters, and they are all fairly easy to kill.  None of them made the top tables at Gencon, not that this should be the only determinant obviously.  I just think they are regularly over valued by most players. 


With that said, do I want to see a lot of double twin shooters?  Not really, but if it requires a bunch of ces, and enough point cost on the figures themselves, I'm fine with it.

Well I disagree on the GMA being the worst


 


The worst thing that happened was twin attack on non-melee pieces.  GMA just made it more componded.


The second worst thing was to make a piece to allow evade and mobile to everypiece in that build.  Evade until General Wedge was not a super problem do to it being the one piece having it or you had to pay a realistic cost in ce to get it.  General Wedge still was just a minor problem that could be delt.  Evade isn't a problem for melee though.  


The mobile evade has just made the game more stale and now both sides are doing itand makes a casual or tournament game longer.  If only one side is using mobile evade it is a lot shorter.


As far as melee vs non-melee(these are just examples just to show you a side of the story)


The problem is mainly not just getting your melee jedi across the map(can be any map), especially those with out deflect or reflect, but also when you finally get a chance to base to attack.  Most, but not all jedi can only get one attack off.  Then they are going to take with what is being used most often in non-melee a minimum of point blank shots(double twin).  Which in most cases will leave your jedi almost devestated or defeated depending on how well you move across the map with a mobile boy able to move out and find a los and shoot you.  You then if not defeated get to get off your double, or triple attack if the shooter didn't move and in many cases still not kill the  shooter. 


Now you can argue for the push, grip and what not.  For that FP to get used I have to (exception rebels) to move out in the open to get a los on a shooter and do maximum at this time 50 damage I believe.  Then the piece gets to take double twin or get several blast at it from several pieces.  Hence taking more damage then dish out.


Most of the range abilities of the jedi are 6 or less spaces.  So to get in range your still trying to find cover and movement without getting hit.  So then you get within six so you can get these abilities off because you wouldn't be able to get next to and base, and you do your set amount of damge and then take all those attacks again.


 


But this isn't just because of open maps its becuase of the diffence in damage potential.


Most maps are only considered open right now in DCI becuase of the Gambit placement. There are some maps that will never be able to be used no matter what gambit is but thats another issue.


 


You do have a point on squad building has to include both,  but it really shouldn't.


 


Well onto the topic of movement breakers


This gets a little more complicated. 


FPs to move 2 extra spaces was the first.  so melee could move 8 instead of 6.  CEs that allow a follower to move extra spaces was also in RS.  The next movement breaker was R2 AD,  allowing you to tow.  Thrawn swap, knight speed and master speed came soon after.  Mas ameda made it ridiculous for CEs. Han solo SA with his CE came next.


Well these movement breakers helped in their time for melee.


Twin came next.  Now there is a gap beginning to be seen.  Double twin shooters are next and GMA available has made the gap even larger.


Well I am just getting real tired so I will try again tomorrow after work to talk about some of your other topics up ther Bill.  Thanks for starting this thread Bill.  I think we all  may get out what we see the problem is and see if something positive can come of it.Smile


 


 


 

Every move in this game is a mistake, the hope is that your opponent makes a bigger mistake when he makes his move.

Mobile/evade wasnt a big deal til Rieekan.  The great thing about Wedge is that, while you can give it to shooters, the NR is a faction largely based on Jedi.  Giving Jedi mobile/evade is a good thing.  Rebels on the other hand are primarily a shooting faction.  Any melee here is jsut support.  It was also made worse because now the uber powered and cheap commanders get it too.  Again, if this was a weaker faction it wouldnt be a big deal.  Even in the NR it would not have been a big deal, as the NR doesnt have a lot of good CEs, and nothing along the lines of the rebels.


(still sick of having to open multiple windows just to reference threads while i type >:/)


It would be nice if things like GMA were more melee based, but here is where support is really hurting melee.  Only the NR has activation control to counter these big attackers.  Running republic or anything else, you are not going to have a chance to get your melee to the big attacker before they get blistered once, maybe twice.


 


I don't know that I buy that about the quad attackers.  I really have yet to see them dominate anything.  They are almost exclusively support characters, and they are all fairly easy to kill.  None of them made the top tables at Gencon, not that this should be the only determinant obviously.  I just think they are regularly over valued by most players.




Their cost is part of the issue too.  A good player will pick an open map and a squad with melee with a movement breaker and these quad shooters.  The opposing player usually has to work really hard to defeat the melee interference piece chewing up their ranks, and then faces full health quad shooters that are shooting as they retreat.  If they were more expensive, they wouldn't be able to be fit in that squad.  Yobuck/Dash/Rex is a good example.  Now, there is obviously stuff that beats that, but melee beating that is really near impossible if played by a good player.


All of my recent losses have been to quad attackers that I couldn't reach with melee because they were running and shooting.  Gambit on the very open map was open, so there was no way to maintain a gambit lead without getting shot to pieces.


And maybe thats map abuse and not quad abuse, but there certainly is a problem there.


I don't know that I buy that about the quad attackers.  I really have yet to see them dominate anything. 



Buy what, exactly?


Anyway, you're about to see them dominate, I expect. For example:


62 Palpatine, SL
23 Clone Trooper w/Repeating Blaster
23 Jarael
33 Captain Rex
32 Thrawn
11 Admiral Ozzel
08 Mas Amedda
08 Gran Raider x2 


 It's fully possible that a Republic version will be stronger with JG Obi, where you are making 5 attacks instead. You lose MT and Opp from Thrawn, but you can pick up Gree and add more Repeating Blasters for squad assault. There are a lot of ways to go with this. 


 

Greetings!


 


I'm brand new to this particular game myself but have played loads of others and thought i'd give my humble offrings.  As a newish player to the game Melee is fine.  In fact I never leave home without General Obi Wan from the starter set as he seems to do nothing but good.  An all droid force headed by Grevious (granting +4 and double attack) is an easy takedown (assuming i can roll above a 3!).  I'm also rather partial to my nice cheap Gamorean guards who can seemingly absorb endless fire for very few points. A battle droid will die in one hit but melee attackers tend to have more hit points for a lowish cost so can usually get into place and hopefully get off as many attacks in the long run (especially if theres plenty of cover or walls).  In this way i think cheap melee attackers (non-jedi) still work, although i'll admit it's early days.


My other point is really this, the more mini's you own the easier it becomes to create a 'killer' combo and more often than not that seems easier with ranged attackers.  I loved Starship Battles but the more i collected the less interesting it became as fleets became predictable.  By simply limiting team selection by set or by 'big handful pulled out of bag" the teams that can effectively shut down melee can be avoided.


 


Finally Bill it's nice to see a solid discussion on here (First time i've decided to create an account and repy in fact)  But on a ressurecting the community front if posters can remember that us 'newbies' haven't the faintest idea what your abbreviations mean that would be a big help! Undecided


Greetings!


 


I'm brand new to this particular game myself but have played loads of others and thought i'd give my humble offrings.  As a newish player to the game Melee is fine.  In fact I never leave home without General Obi Wan from the starter set as he seems to do nothing but good.  An all droid force headed by Grevious (granting +4 and double attack) is an easy takedown (assuming i can roll above a 3!).  I'm also rather partial to my nice cheap Gamorean guards who can seemingly absorb endless fire for very few points. A battle droid will die in one hit but melee attackers tend to have more hit points for a lowish cost so can usually get into place and hopefully get off as many attacks in the long run (especially if theres plenty of cover or walls).  In this way i think cheap melee attackers (non-jedi) still work, although i'll admit it's early days.


My other point is really this, the more mini's you own the easier it becomes to create a 'killer' combo and more often than not that seems easier with ranged attackers.  I loved Starship Battles but the more i collected the less interesting it became as fleets became predictable.  By simply limiting team selection by set or by 'big handful pulled out of bag" the teams that can effectively shut down melee can be avoided. Undecided




Not to burst your bubble, but General Obi-Wan Kenobi is banned from DCI play. I am glad you are having fun with him in casual games, but I think your post is an example of why he's not allowed. He shouldn't be able to single-handedly take down an entire squad simply by rolling higher than 3. lol


I would also respectfully submit that the power level of what is arguably the strongest mini ever to come along doesn't really reflect the entire line of melee on the whole.


Welcome to the game, and I'm glad to see there are still new people trying it out, after 5 years. (It's nice to see someone else enjoying the Gammorean Guards as well.)


 

The main reason why non-melee rules this game is becasue of the rangeless requirement for LOS with no penalties.


This really is the basis for needing to balance melee and non melee because melee is a large restriction. It always has been regardless of the number of double twin greater mobile attackers.


Its why its so important to design maps with restricted space, to reduce the power of shooters. Anybody in 2007 gen con will tell you that mustafar was chosen because it gave such an imbalance to shooters.


There are obviously melee figures that can compete in tourneys but its so rare for them to compete as a basic melee piece in the vain of a tank or dmg dealer. They usually need some other aspect (CE or special SAs) to bring them into the fray (see Yobuck, GOWK, Luke RC, Kyle, gungans). Even Jareal who is about the purest melee attacker who competes regulally is played for her ability to stun and her great defensive abilities. Perhaps Kyp is one such figure who is basically played for his melee prowess.  Its likely the new General Anakin will make competitive teams now that he has decent power output as well as some decent defence.  But he might end up going the same route as Shado Vao or Shaak Ti, who are both very good costed melee figures that don't bring enough to the table to make them consistent choices in top squads.
Compare that to Han Smuggler, Dash or Rex that are there purely for dmg dealing. They don't bring anything other than a strong gun.  I think this is the most telling example of the imbalance of ranged v shooters. Shooters just need power to compete, pure power melee figs just don't and won't get it done unless they have something unique to bring or are jacked to the 9s by many CE's.
Figs like Count of Serano, Shado Vao, Lucien Draay, luke, Jedi, Luke CotF, Darth Talon, Shaak Ti JM are good figs but there isn't enough there for them to compete for cost with the games top shooters


I also challenge the fact that complete non-melee only squads suffer as much as all melee.  Case inpoint is the runner up in this years GenCon. The only melee pieces being ughnaughts and it is the most fearsome squad to be played this year.  Certainly made more powerful due to the maps selection but its still competitive on almost any map.


Another additive fact to shooters power is the combined fire mechanic.  Its such a simple method of improving your shooters chance to hit an all you need is an extra gun.  Its easy to add these extra guns as most of the best commanders come packed with a pistol (ozzel, dodonna, reiken, thrawn). Melee has no such method of improving thier chance to hit. Admitedly, melee usually doesn't deal with cover but sometimes combined fire is used to supplement no cover shots.


There is a lot in your first post to respond to Bill so you'll have to forgive me if i don't go through it point by point. Perhaps we can talk about this in the SithHolo news network.


Also i'm not completely sure what your opinion of the melee-ranged balance is. Are you just gauging peoples opinions or does your opinion lean in some way?


Also i'm not completely sure what your opinion of the melee-ranged balance is. Are you just gauging peoples opinions or does your opinion lean in some way?



An astute observation, I didn't want to give it all away right up front, merely lay out what some of the issues are, with a little bit of commentary, but mostly as an informational piece to get the conversation going. 


My opinion is that the game rules favor shooters, always have, probably always will, and for precisely the reason you mentioned.  However, I shy away from some of what I see are exaggerated claims about the balance. 


Let's go simple for a moment.  One on one, a Stormtrooper vs a Youngling.  More often than not, the Stormtrooper will likely win, simply because he can attack 2-3 times before the Youngling could get there.


But you might say, the game gets much more complicated than that, and therefore that example is flawed, which it is.  Let's go to a more complicated example then.


I picked 50pts at random on bloomilk so understand this isn't meant to be more than a simple example.  We have Boba Fett and Han Galactic Hero vs. Vader U, Vader CotF and General Secura.  Boba will need 7 hits on either Vader (16 vs 23/27) to kill.  With Deflect, that means on average about 1/2 of his shots will not land damage.  And with DA on Vader U, that means 1/2 of those will only do 10dmg.  Vader CotF in return, needs 6 hits to kill Boba, needing only 5s.  So assuming he can catch up to Boba in 2-3 rounds (which is the average most players complain about), Vader should be down to roughly 100-120hps when he engages.  At that point, each figure will need init wins, and a little luck to win. AS for Vader U vs Boba, I believe he would win this more often than Boba.


General Secura has only 100hps, but she also has cloaked (her gimmick) with cunning and double.  She can kill Boba quick once she gets there, and Boba gets 0 hits on the way in.  So it actually should work out similar to Vader CotF, luck and init will determine it.


And I've done this repeatedly with multiple figures over the years to show that non-melee figures aren't as good as people often claim.  Heck, I took down Boba BH 2/3 games with Darth Sion to prove a point


As for the match ups against Han GH, he does more damage, but has less hps and a lower attack rating, so I think it all depends on inits and how many hits he can land.  He also can't run away as easy without flight.  I think Han loses more than he wins against any of the three figures.


Now, moving into squads it gets more complicated.  One of the strengths of shooter squads is that it is much easier to focus fire.  You don't always have to close in at the same time, and hence the tactics are much easier.  The real problem with double twin attackers isn't that they are too powerful, it's just that in the game, it's hard for most players to focus as many attacks back at the same time.  It's even more difficult if your opponent has a melee beat in the way of his shooters.  And I think that is the crux of the complaint.  For me, I find killing Dash and Rex to be relatively easy in top tier play.  In casual play, they are much more annoying, usually because you are playing something that isn't necessarily prepared to deal with them, and perhaps can't.


To your point about the Gencon runner up squad Slow Cannon, it isn't a pure non-melee squad either.  I guess I was referring to a pure power shooter squad, because that is a more fair comparison to all melee.  But the gimmicks and maps are what make slow cannon dangerous, not the fact that it basically has two shooters.  Speed, evade, mobile, override, activation control, open maps, DR, (disruptive in some cases, as well as repair options, Bothans, and ERCs of their own) and Princess Leia are all more important than the fact that it was two shooters.  If you don't buy it yet, let me try this.


According to some, the greatest squad in the game should be Dash, Rex, R2, and whatever else you want, maybe Cad Bane soon, but for sake of argument, let's use the one that was played at Gencon with Yodabuck.  I know, I know, I'm using a melee interference squad as my example, but it will make sense I think   I saw it played by at least 2-3 players who were solid players.  They didn't do well with it.  Yoda is one of the best melee pieces in the game.  And supposedly Dash and Rex break the game so why did it fail?  Because the game isn't all about maxing shooter power.


So while I agree that I am not a huge fan of double twin shooters in particular, I don't buy that they are the end all be all.  I believe a much more important factor in game outcomes are the options a squad has.


 

I agree with Bill that melee can be competitive when played well.  Maps are a huge deal, squad balance is important...oh yeah, and skill is important too.    And yes, I do think that the recosting is happening...but it's just not as impactful (ie, as drastic) as people were hoping. 


I think Bill has a good point that people often psyche themselves out of using melee figs, and that it has less to do with wise decisions and more to do with hesitation to grow and a desire for "pet-piece X" to be better. 


But regardless, nobody can deny that melee figs face an uphill climb even in the best of situations.  As Fingers said, the very mechanics of the game are at the source of the problem.  I think that, while we as players could certainly stand to stretch ourselves with the hard work required to play melee (a point which Bill makes well and most players would do well to learn), still the majority of the problem stands with the design of the pieces themselves.


I agree partially with many people who have said that GMA was the worst SA ever introduced to the game.  But I would adjust that statement slightly: GMA for non-melee figs is the worst SA ever introduced to the game.  The last thing this game needs is more shooters who shoot 4 times and then run and hide.  But on the other hand, GMA for melee figs is exactly what the doctor ordered.  I hope we never see another shooter with GMA, but many more melee figs with GMA.  A certain Skywalker-soon-to-be-released represents an excellent step in the right direction.  I'd love to see a CE that grants GMA to allies with Melee Attack (especially on OR or Sith, but Republic would love it too). 


In a dream world, if I were a SWM designer, this is what we'd see:


- No more shooters with GMA.  Ever.  


- More melee figs with GMA.  It is very, very difficult to play a melee fig that can only make 1 attack after moving.  Would JWMs be even nearly as valuable without LS Assault?  WEWs are fine with just 1 attack, but that's because it does 40dmg, not 20.  Moving to do 20dmg, and then taking 40-80+ in return is not a good exchange.  But can you imagine a 63pt character with Triple, Vaapad, solid stats, and GMA?  That's trouble looking for a place to happen.  And it's CS Mace with one simple addition. 


- Lay off on the Twin-Attacking shooters!  Sure, some of them should have Twin, but the melee figs should be having it just as often too.  Assaj and GMY, along with some GAW figs, are good examples of how Twin Attack can go a long way to make melee pieces stronger.


- Give Evade to more melee figs.  In this game where shooters are putting out up to 80+ dmg in an activation, melee figs need Evade.  And it's not just so that they can be foolishly run up the middle of the map without impunity...it's so that they can survive more than 1 round once they actually get into base with something.  It's frustrating to use careful tactics to finally base a key piece with a full-hp Jedi tank, only to have that Jedi get wasted by a barrage of shots before the end of the next round.  Evade would solve the problem.  A single clear example: my 200pt NR squad (Kyle JBM, Mara Jedi, Ossus Guardian, Leia, Wedge, Dodonna, Mouse/Ug fodder) went 4-0 at Gencon this year.  I truly didn't have to worry about shooters, because I had a 75% chance to evade any shot that happened to hit my high-Def melee figs.  It actually wasn't fair to shooters...oh, the delicious irony!   It was also fun to play melee figs in a competitive tournament again.  However, if/when Wedge died, the squad was dead in the water.  With Evade, it was fine...but without, it all fell apart.  Now, I realize that's just a single example, but it illustrates the point I'm trying to make: currently, Evade is terribly important for melee figs.


- Give more melee figs the ability to increase their damage via SAs.  Cunning (or Advantageous), Opportunist (or Deceptive), Mighty Swing, Momentum (oh, if only there was a CE that granted Momentum!)...these SAs are golden for melee figs.  I actually learned this when playing SWM:CE, where my triple-attacking jedi took Mighty Swing as a feat, and when my Charging-Assault and Rolling/Cleaving jedi gained Momentum.  Having a method to increase damage outside of Force Powers would go a long way in helping melee figs compete.  GAW looks like it will help a lot in this regard, and I'm very happy about that.


IMHO, making these changes would do a lot to make melee more competitive in SWM.  So yes, melee can be competitive when played well and on a balanced map.  But even then, they face an uphill battle. 

Rex and Dash have to hit and that is their big problem.  Of course, they get to roll the dice WAY more than other characters do.  In the example used above where a Stormie gets 2-3 shots off before a Youngling can even attack is just amplified in quad attackers.  They're getting 8-12 shots off before a melee piece engages.  Even with lower to hit, the more you roll the dice, the greater proportion will be higher rolls.  This is, of course, an oversimplification as well because a common defensive tactic will be to screen pieces by "leap-frogging" and "forcing" the twin attackers to attack targets they don't want to.  Even then, the defender is losing points and activations as it happens.  Or, just sticking a base 22/23 in front and watch them miss more.  


I don't think the distance is "broken" bad, but its enough that an all melee squad will always have one little statistical gap that results in more losses than wins.

Trever brings up a great point about 200pts.  I forgot to mention this.


At 200, I went 3-1 (oddly losing in a mirror to Lou in the first round in a very tight match) with this squad:


--Dark Woman Swapping now with more Yoda--
51 Yoda on Kybuck
28 Dash Rendar, Renegade Smuggler
24 Qui-Gon Jinn, Jedi Trainer
23 Captain Panaka
22 Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padawan
21 The Dark Woman
9 R2-D2, Astromech Droid
8 Mas Amedda
5 Caamasi Noble
9 Ugnaught Demolitionist x3

(200pts. 12 activations)


And my loss to Lou was because in round 2, he won init, and successfully mind tricked my Obi.  I was literally behind in the game by 40 dmg the rest of the way.


I faced a Dash, REx, Boba squad and destroyed it.  A Slow Cannon style squad with basically Dash and double override added and had no trouble with it, and I don't remember the other.


In this squad, Dash was clean up and rarely mattered.  In most games, him having double was more important than twin and GMA really wasn't a factor.  For example, in the game against Dash and Rex, I was able to hit both Dash and Rex with Yoda (taking AoOs from Dash) and hit Rex twice.  Rex had already activated, so I swapped in my Dash, who sat there unactivated taking Boba's twin, and then killed his Rex.  My Dash died to his, but it was essencially game at that point as my melee could finish the rest.  (Obi did 80pts of damage to Boba in two rounds )


Anyways, point is, melee can compete just fine.  But look what it takes.  I had to use crazy movement breakers, swapping, good CEs, and a nice mixture of attack options.  It also took a ton of skill and tactics to pull it off right, and I had an absolutel blast running it.  I would put this up against any 200pt non-melee squad you want to play, and I bet you I can be competitive with it.


In the team tournament, I chose a more specialized squad, but the more general concept of it is comepetitive at 200 as well.  It's basically Opp Thrawn, Vader Scourge, Cade and Ozzel (drop Ozzel in most cases, but because of the team rules I felt comfortable using him in this case).  I went 3-1 in my games with it, and the loss was close to an auto-loss to Philip's 19 activation landspeeder squad, that is even more specialized to that meta than mine

Thats a good squad Bill.  What map did you play on?


 


I think melee can compete just fine...on the right map.  And maybe that is the solution here.


Thats a good squad Bill.  What map did you play on?


 


I think melee can compete just fine...on the right map.  And maybe that is the solution here.




Yavin Temple.  It's one of my favorite maps, a great map for Yoda, Panaka and the Dark Woman, and low an behold, I have all three


One of the strengths of shooter squads is that it is much easier to focus fire.  You don't always have to close in at the same time, and hence the tactics are much easier.  The real problem with double twin attackers isn't that they are too powerful, it's just that in the game, it's hard for most players to focus as many attacks back at the same time.  It's even more difficult if your opponent has a melee beat in the way of his shooters.  And I think that is the crux of the complaint.  For me, I find killing Dash and Rex to be relatively easy in top tier play.  In casual play, they are much more annoying, usually because you are playing something that isn't necessarily prepared to deal with them, and perhaps can't.



Yeah, your figure on figure comparision is quite accurate and i have no disagreements with it, although the comparision is going to be map based.


However, you point above about the ability to focus fire is one i omitted from my earlier post and its a very strong deterent for melee. A squad of shooters will find it much easier to punish a melee piece more than vice versa.


To your point about the Gencon runner up squad Slow Cannon, it isn't a pure non-melee squad either.  I guess I was referring to a pure power shooter squad, because that is a more fair comparison to all melee.  But the gimmicks and maps are what make slow cannon dangerous, not the fact that it basically has two shooters.  Speed, evade, mobile, override, activation control, open maps, DR, (disruptive in some cases, as well as repair options, Bothans, and ERCs of their own) and Princess Leia are all more important than the fact that it was two shooters.  If you don't buy it yet, let me try this.


No its not completely non-melee when you consider the activation control, override, extra attack but when you look at the pieces that cause dmg they are non-melee. The squad has the option of staying away, something that melee squads without serious movement breaking can't do. It comes back to what you say about options. Melee attackers have less inherently and until recently i'm not sure if many where given the boosts in stats and abilities to make up for the lack of options.


According to some, the greatest squad in the game should be Dash, Rex, R2, and whatever else you want, maybe Cad Bane soon, but for sake of argument, let's use the one that was played at Gencon with Yodabuck.  I know, I know, I'm using a melee interference squad as my example, but it will make sense I think   I saw it played by at least 2-3 players who were solid players.  They didn't do well with it.  Yoda is one of the best melee pieces in the game.  And supposedly Dash and Rex break the game so why did it fail?  Because the game isn't all about maxing shooter power.

So while I agree that I am not a huge fan of double twin shooters in particular, I don't buy that they are the end all be all.  I believe a much more important factor in game outcomes are the options a squad has.



 agreed. Although, i'm not sure what your yodabuck example is aimed at explaining.  It seems that his failure to do well strengthens the argument that melee is disadvantaged to a larger degree than what people would like.






I  to 80+ dmg in an activation, melee figs need Evade.  And it's not just so that they can be foolishly run up the middle of the map without impunity...it's so that they can survive more than 1 round once they actually get into base with something.  It's frustrating to use careful tactics to finally base a key piece with a full-hp Jedi tank, only to have that Jedi get wasted by a barrage of shots before the end of the next round.  Evade would solve the problem.  A single clear example: my 200pt NR squad (Kyle JBM, Mara Jedi, Ossus Guardian, Leia, Wedge, Dodonna, Mouse/Ug fodder) went 4-0 at Gencon this year.  I truly didn't have to worry about shooters, because I had a 75% chance to evade any shot that happened to hit my high-Def melee figs.  It actually wasn't fair to shooters...oh, the delicious irony!   It was also fun to play melee figs in a competitive tournament again.  However, if/when Wedge died, the squad was dead in the water.  With Evade, it was fine...but without, it all fell apart.  Now, I realize that's just a single example, but it illustrates the point I'm trying to make: currently, Evade is terribly important for melee figs.




You bring up a lot of good points trevor and i think the game is starting to give the defence to melee pieces so that they can compete. Wedge on NR (a mostly melee faction) gave great strides to the melee balance. The new assajj have evade, something that has been sorely lacking from many melee pieces but seems to get dished out to shooters ad nauseum.  Its this lack of defence that really tips the scales IMO.


And just a devils advocate point about your squad, your 3 main melee pieces were Kyle (played for the amount of options he brings like disruptive, grenades, assault and triple), Leia who is played for her CE and the ossus who, in this squad has almost unparralelled survivability. They arn't your run of the mill melee, they all have something special, something extra to allow them compete.


Big stats and big power on melee (eg Darth Bane) has never really been soley competitve (jwm possibly an exception but they were usually accompanied by shooters)


--Dark Woman Swapping now with more Yoda--
51 Yoda on Kybuck
28 Dash Rendar, Renegade Smuggler
24 Qui-Gon Jinn, Jedi Trainer
23 Captain Panaka
22 Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padawan
21 The Dark Woman
9 R2-D2, Astromech Droid
8 Mas Amedda
5 Caamasi Noble
9 Ugnaught Demolitionist x3

(200pts. 12 activations)




Yes, a squad that the majority are melee attackers but similar to Trevors look at the pieces it contains.
Yodabuck - fastest melee piece and one of the best activation counters in teh game
Qui Gonn who boosts the att of 3 pieces in teh squad
Dark Woman who allows Dash to benefit from Qui and can walk through walls


The one purely melee piece who has little special to add other than power is the padwan who can get ridiculous Att for cost due to the synergy of the squad. Add in the fact that you have swap to protect and prevent focused fire on a specific piece and you can see what is allowing the squad with so much melee to compete.


These squads are a sign that the downside of melee is being addressed in the newer sets which is something i'm very greatful for.
Melee has always been playing catch up though and i wonder whether, just as melee is getting to even footing becasue of the options that are now starting to bring to squads, shooters will take that next step and push melee back into the realms of lower tier play.


I agree with your point about casual play also. The disparity of squad strengths is increasing as teh top tier play continues to grow. Its almost vital to introduce rules for squad building in casual play so that someone doesn't bring a top t2/1.5 squad an batter your t3 fun squad without losing a piece.

Yep, a balanced map.  ;)  It won't necessarily fair as well on more open maps, IMO.  And the more I think about it, the more that seems to be the problem to me.  I think so much of this gets better with better balanced maps.  If we don't have rules for range limits, you artificially create those range limits with terrain.


Now, that's not exactly a profound realization.  We've known it for sometime, and we keep coming back to it.

It's obvious the imbalance is there, thats why newer players lendto shooter squads.  I think tactics, strategy and Map choice is really the biggest hinderance for most melee these days.  Of course with a faction like the Vong which with one exception is pure melee wiht a couple of ranged save abilities is the one that suffers msot at higher levels 150, 200, but does well at the lowest level 100.  So is that a contridiction, or just my observation

Best gaming community in the world. My collection is proof. 2009 SWM RAC member 795 Club member Over 75 Good trades, Zero Negatives You can check out my squads at Bloomilk, or share in more conversations at SWMGAMERS "There is always a choice..."

My favorite story is how I was able to nearly beat a cannon varient with an all Melee squad.  Sure, I used GOWK, but this was back when he was still Melee only.  It was on Ravaged Base, a really balanced map, imo.  If it weren't for 2 crits in a row, I would've killed that snowspeeder...


I am pretty satisfied with the Melee pieces that are currently being made.  Yes, they are tougher to run, and quite a few of the recent maps are a really bad choice for them. 


And I think Greater Mobile Attack on shooters is fine.  We've had Moible/Twin characters since BH.  I do think that the Double/Twin/GMA is a little overboard on some pieces, but there are really only 3 pieces that are thought of when this comes up.  I am personally okay with them, especially since they don't have Accurate. 

Well I just had a nice addition to add all typed but I hit back so i could see your 200 squad post bill and then hit forward to go back to my post. Because I had a couple things to ask about it in revelance to this discusiion.


 


Everything I typed was gone.  That didn't happen in the old boards and I have no time to retype it all so I will try later.  Cry

Every move in this game is a mistake, the hope is that your opponent makes a bigger mistake when he makes his move.

Well I have notice a lot of pointing towards the map choice as some of the problem.


I have noticed that if DCI isn't used, melee has a little more chance because they can choose which direction they want to go and not have to have a scoring area to worry about. New Muunilist for example has two very good sides that you can move room to room, But you still have the basic problem of basing the non-melee and taking more damage then you dish out.


Looking at your squad Bill.Smile


I like to say it looks really good.  Definitely sparks as a DCI build though.  The movement breakers helps that squad to be competitive.


Swap has been implemented in empire, republic, sith, and rebels at this point.  But this is the kicker in order use this type movement breakers it will cost you part of your build.  Sith is at the biggest disavantage with this due to the higher cost of almost double all the others factions.  This also leads to a stale squad as I can't think of a better word at this moment.  But all the other faction have it worst, except NR who has Han Solo SA to get them to run 12, because they don't have anything as of yet.


What do I mean by stale squad?


A stale squad is a squad that is basically the same squad but has a piece or two change.


Avtivation control, door control,movement breakers for melee or CE characters to boost cannons,1 or 2 pieces as melee or cannons or both, and finnally a filler  maybe BG or Diplomat.


Now Bill my question is this.  Take away Yobuck and Panaka put in a jedi weapon master and maybe another Unique Republic Jedi.  How would it have faired?  Melee only has so many movement breakers and they are geared to make certain factions better while leaving the other factions way behind.  At this point I should say.  My follow up question: what would you have lost from this squad to play at 150?


 


Edit:  Just wanted to add: this is just becoming a really interesting conversationSmile


 

Every move in this game is a mistake, the hope is that your opponent makes a bigger mistake when he makes his move.

I'll say it again an errata for force power melee peices.


This discussion is showing that that is exactly what is needed. DCI raises its head again. It limits the use of melee piece even more than they are at the moment. Its not about the skill of making a squad, or playing it. If you want to play a melee piece squad you have to pick the map too?? Thats ludicrous lol!
Take a ranged piece, how much thought goes in to it on choice?


The main thing we all agree on is you can play melee pieces but they are hindered because the are under the same mechanics as ranged pieces. Could we make force powers range 8?


Errata, errata, errataSealed

A good workman doesn’t blame his tools. Overall winner of the "Alien Scum" custom contest! Good Trades : Boss Nass;Sith_Slayer;lukey84;Biggsy;Kael_Dro nna;Reysan_Aura;Purple_Wind;The_Fringer Bad Trades 0


Anyways, point is, melee can compete just fine.  But look what it takes.  I had to use crazy movement breakers, swapping, good CEs, and a nice mixture of attack options.  It also took a ton of skill and tactics to pull it off right, and I had an absolutel blast running it.  I would put this up against any 200pt non-melee squad you want to play, and I bet you I can be competitive with it.




Totally agree that melee can compete just fine. But I think saying "look what it takes" gives the wrong impression here. If shooters are better than melee, then do you think your squad would have been better by replacing all the melee attackers with shooters? You'd gain ranged options, which we'd all agree is better to have than not to have.


Clearly the squad would have been inferior running shooters over all those melee pieces. To me, this means that the melee pieces were actually *superior* in that squad. I think this is a key point, which says to me that the newer melee pieces really are catching up to the shooters. Don't worry about the tricks the melee squad needs to make use off, the shooter squads run their own tricks too (Rieekan, swapping, super stealth, whatever). A squad without tricks these days really isn't a competitive squad anyway, regardless of whether it is melee or ranged heavy.

Clearly the squad would have been inferior running shooters over all those melee pieces. To me, this means that the melee pieces were actually *superior* in that squad. I think this is a key point, which says to me that the newer melee pieces really are catching up to the shooters. Don't worry about the tricks the melee squad needs to make use off, the shooter squads run their own tricks too (Rieekan, swapping, super stealth, whatever). A squad without tricks these days really isn't a competitive squad anyway, regardless of whether it is melee or ranged heavy.



Oh man, someone nailed it.  That is one of my main arguments.  I highlighted the most important line here.  Top squads are always about gimmicks.  But for some reason, we consistently ignore the tricks required to make non-melee pieces top tier, but lament them in the case of melee.  And you are right, replacing my melee pieces with non-melee would not improve that particular squad design, it would make it worse. 


And further, I am prepared to argue that this "trick" or as I call them gimmick piece has been relevant to the discussion for years.  At times something that we might call a "pure power" squad has been good enough to compete, whether they were ranged or melee based, but in general, at least as long as there have been DCI tournies at Gencon, the gimmick squads have for the most part dominated.  And they aren't just gimmick squads either, but are squads generally with several options for attacking, and generally are of what I call a "melee interference" build - even if on occastion the "melee" piece hasn't always been melee.  Let's look at some.


2005 - STSparks Durge, Aurra, Twilick Scoundrel, Gran and so on.  He didn't have to face either of the top 5 Vader JH squads, but he did face at least 2 Boba, Aurra, R2 squads and beat them both.  Most people were quite surprised, and even after his wins, most people undervalued his squad.  But they didn't see how he played it.  Durge led the way, together with his scrubs (including the hated Twilick Scoundrel) to play interference for Aurra.  Durge can sit still and take a beating, and the scrubs can hit pretty hard (for that time) with momentum.  The gimmick was momentum on his scrubs (100pts remember) which worked better than the towing Aurra/Boba builds because his Aurra was always safe, and their Boba and Aurra were dead pretty quick, especially when his Twilick could charge R2 for a cunning momentum and off him


2006 - Engineer, Billiv15, MtMagus and Fingersandteeth.  Engineer and Bill ran B&B.  It's not your normal interference squad, but the shooters did play a role beyond being swap fodder.  They were also scrub killers and attackers when needed.  The "gimmick" was obviously the board wide swap, but don't forget the importance of the +3/3 to all the stormies either at that time.  The Boba and Aurra power squads, as well as JWM/General Windu squads were part of that meta (both power squads basically), and the extra defense made Boba and Aurra miss a lot of the time.  Deri ran a General Windu Boba squad where Boba would get towed for triples.  That's an improvement on the other power builds we saw a lot of, and it's classic interference.  Finally MtMagus Exar Kun/Mutant squad.  All melee build, with the gimmicks being Exar's CEs and transfer essence.


2007 - Three squads of note this year, Han Cannon makes it's first appearance (as well as the Landspeeder variants), Broken Boba wins the thing, and San Hill takes a top spot. 


1. Han Cannon - Han Scoundrel/Leia is the shooter, WFFs are the interference figs (with Wicket and a BH when needed).  The gimmicks are Leia's CE, Obi Ghost granting Han renewal and mettle, traps and override.  Maps also played a key roll.  (I mention the Landspeeder Cannons because they worked basically the same way with the exception of being able to use a different Han, either Han RH or Han ST for yet another gimmick).


2. Broken Boba - Probably the closest thing to a pure power squad that has ever placed high at Gencon.  2 JWMs, Boba BH, R2, filler.  But to be accurate, it's also good old melee interference, and it does have the gimmick of tow and override, which was maxed out by Dr. Divot's clever use of the Geonosis map.


3. San Hill - Aurra JH, Boba (BH or Enf/Lando DS combo), Lobot.  Aurra is a ranged piece, used almost exclusively in these builds as interference.  Pretty obvious with her, her best strengths are using blaster barrage while basing 2-3 jedi figures.  Having a ranged option makes her even more useful, but that was the rare exception from what I saw.


2008 - Speedy Cannon Billiv15 - Luke's Snowspeeder is a great interference piece.  He died in nearly all my games and was unafraid to base whenever possible.  Gimmicks are the same as Han Cannon, simply replacing Wicket and the WFFs with the SS.


San Hill again was present (Lobostele).


Boba Cannon (Thereisnotry).  This is a pure gimmick shooter squad at it's best.  He didn't want to base with anyone generally, and used his Dodonna and high activations to protect his cannon.  Han RH was used to max the damage on a won init from Boba and his Bothan, as well as giving a second accurate shooter to the squad.


Loda/Leia (Knightswhosayni)- This is offensive melee with Loda, and it was a good counter to this meta.  The back up shooter was Lando DS, but the main offense was Dodonna backed Loda and Leia.


2009 - Slow Cannon - Basically Speedy Cannon with the addition of Reeikan/Dodonna and changing out R2 for Lobot.  Same principles, speeder played interference for the Han Cannon (now Han Smuggler rather than Scoundrel), and was even tougher to deal with because now it had evade. (Joruus' Landspeeder variant worked the same way)


Fingersandteeth - Lobbin Luke - The Gencon winner.  Han Cannon, with Luke Commando, Madine and an ERC.  Absolutely brutal combo of gimmicks.  Together with a great map strategy, and some nice strong anti-speeder tactics, Deri played this into a winner.  Gimmick and melee interference at it's best.


Darth Baker - Gungans on Kybuck (I just made up a name) - Interesting squad design, full of gimmicks.  The ranged element were double Cesta's.  The melee was of course Yoda on Kybuck, which he used both as a shield and for a late round charge to get points.  Cestas would soften a target, then Yoda would charge to kill it if/when it tried to run away.  The Gungan Shield bearer was the defense, and he played it almost flawlessly throughout the tournament.  Shielding, Double Cesta, R2 tow, and gallop were the strong gimmicks he made use of.


Hopefully, I have shown what I think I was showing, that gimmicks and interference builds have ruled for years.  Not power squads.  Now there have been power squads that have done well, in 2007, 2 JWM swarms, one with Aurra and one with Bossk BH made the top 8.


 


 

Well the two things that haven't been said as far as I could see is that:


1. If the piece is melee, barring a CE granting a stat bonus, a +X attack is a +X attack forever. There are no ways to increase the value. More recently we've gotten internal special abilities that can help with this, such as some of the lightsaber forms or synergy, but only Force users tend to benefit from either of those, for the most part. With a shooter squad, combined fire is your friend. Take Bill's example of the 20 Stormtroopers vs. the 20 Younglings. The troopers will win 99 times out of 100, and specifically because of combined fire. Rather than an errata or addition to Force user options - or perhaps along with - the game needs a rules addition that improves melee. 


My challenge to the designers - to Peter Lee - is to think about this question for a future set: what is the benefit of carrying a knife to a gunfight? There must be one, otherwise why not just have everyone carry a gun AND a sword/knife/lightsaber? Granting abilities that allow a character a 50/50 chance to avoid all non-adjacent damage isn't the answer, and has really only made things worse for the game in terms of time constraints and gambit.


And also: 


2. Stop balancing melee against melee and start balancing it against shooters. What I mean is, melee and non-melee should not be operating on the same scale. It's fine to price melee lower, but shooters need to be priced higher. A character that can mobile/double/twin at +16 should not be priced at the same scale as a piece that has to be adjacent to accomplish the same thing.


I know there are people who wouldn't approve of this, but I would have priced Commander Ahsoka at 11 pts. instead of 24. All you are really getting from her is her CE, as her attack value is too low to really ever hit anything with a defense higher than 16, and that's assuming she can actually get adjacent to the target before she is killed.


My challenge to the designers - to Peter Lee - is to think about this question for a future set: what is the benefit of carrying a knife to a gunfight? 




A just question.


The main thing we all agree on is you can play melee pieces but they are hindered because the are under the same mechanics as ranged pieces...





2. Stop balancing melee against melee and start balancing it against shooters. What I mean is, melee and non-melee should not be operating on the same scale. It's fine to price melee lower, but shooters need to be priced higher. A character that can mobile/double/twin at +16 should not be priced at the same scale as a piece that has to be adjacent to accomplish the same thing.




I said the same thing but Boris made it a lot clearer Laughing


 

A good workman doesn’t blame his tools. Overall winner of the "Alien Scum" custom contest! Good Trades : Boss Nass;Sith_Slayer;lukey84;Biggsy;Kael_Dro nna;Reysan_Aura;Purple_Wind;The_Fringer Bad Trades 0

I don't particularly disagree with anything Dennis said.  If fact, I think this is the perfect time to ask that particular question.  One of the advantages of a change in designer is that it can lead to making some of the changes that might be needed, but in ways that are different than the past guy (no slight on Rob intended at all however).  It's just that a new mind, will see things in a different light.


I don't particularly disagree with anything Dennis said.  If fact, I think this is the perfect time to ask that particular question.  One of the advantages of a change in designer is that it can lead to making some of the changes that might be needed, but in ways that are different than the past guy (no slight on Rob intended at all however).  It's just that a new mind, will see things in a different light.





Right.  I don't think anybody would talk badly about Rob; the guy's a genius, and he's been so good for this game!  But now we're in a time of transition, so now is the time for questions like this.

Possible Flanking rules would be a good option, I think.  And in that line, one thing that came to my mind from playing D&D 4e was the Shifting ability.  In D&D, a character can move his normal 6 squares, or he can instead Shift 1 square into any adjacent space; Shifting does not provoke AoOs.  If we get Flanking rules, then I wonder if Shifting rules would also be a good option, but perhaps only for characters with Melee Attack. 


There are problems with this, such as characters making 1 attack vs a multi-attack melee beast (Maul, Mace, etc), and then Shifting away to prevent the multi-attacks in return.  Perhaps one requirement of Shifting would be that a character can only Shift into a square that is adjacent to all the same characters that he started his turn adjacent to, which are still alive and have not moved during his turn.  This would facilitate Flanking as a viable tactic and thus boost melee figs, but it would also prevent characters from getting "free" escapes from multi-attackers.  Anyway, I'm just throwing it out there as a possible friend to the potential Flanking rules addition.  If people want to discuss or debate this idea further, then we should start another thread because we don't want to sideline this useful Melee vs Non-Melee topic.


Back on topic, I do hope that Peter Lee has some plans in the works for helping melee figs catch up (from a game rules perspective) to non-melee figs.  Perhaps Flanking/Shifting could be a step.

Off topic, but the main conversation has mostly wound down...


I'm a fan of shifting. SWM really becomes very static after melee engagement due to the AOO rules.


Shifting is one mechanic that restores a little bit of mobility.


 

i dunno, shifting actually hurts melee more than anything else, particulally as non-melee tends to have the most attaks available to them when moving.


I guess thats really the heart of my issue with the imbalance of melee v non-melee.


There are several shooters where moving and doing 80 dmg is what they do, there are only a small number of melee pieces that can do that (Kyp, Lord Vader, Maris Brood, Komari Vosa).


It seems a bit backwards that those figs that have to work to get close enough to do dmg are given less opportunity to do dmg when they get there.


i dunno, shifting actually hurts melee more than anything else, particulally as non-melee tends to have the most attaks available to them when moving.


I guess thats really the heart of my issue with the imbalance of melee v non-melee.


There are several shooters where moving and doing 80 dmg is what they do, there are only a small number of melee pieces that can do that (Kyp, Lord Vader, Maris Brood, Komari Vosa).


It seems a bit backwards that those figs that have to work to get close enough to do dmg are given less opportunity to do dmg when they get there.




You are 100% correct

Every move in this game is a mistake, the hope is that your opponent makes a bigger mistake when he makes his move.